The Malta Independent 23 January 2021, Saturday

‘They are absolutely crazy’ - Medical associations react to ‘Christmas in the City’

Giulia Magri Monday, 9 November 2020, 15:19 Last update: about 3 months ago

Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli and Valletta Cultural Agency Chairmain Jason Micallef are ‘absolutely crazy’ and an example of the mixed messages the government continues to give on Covid-19, MUMN president Paul Pace told The Malta Independent when asked about the announcement of a Christmas-themed set of events in Valletta earlier today.

“It is extremely irresponsible of these political figures to give out such mixed messages. The Health Authorities are telling people not to have any gatherings, both outside and inside of their homes – I am surprised how Health Minister Chris Fearne and Superintendent Charmaine Gauci did not shoot this idea down”, Pace said.

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Pace from the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses (MUMN) was reacting to the launch of ‘Christmas in the City’ – a programme of events in Valletta, which was launched on Monday by the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of National Heritage and the Valletta Cultural Agency.

During the launch of the event, VCA Chairman Jason Micallef said that “Covid-19 will not kill Christmas”, and Farrugia Portelli said that her ministry in tandem with the MTA were always looking for way to support the capital city and businesses within it.

The event launch however comes amidst appeals by health authorities not to congregate during Christmas in order to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

Pace told this newsroom that decisions such as for this event are extremely irresponsible at this time, when Malta is seeing a high number of cases on a daily basis.

On Monday, the Health Authorities found 102 new cases of COVID-19, and the number of active cases now stands at 1,980. The numbers of deaths has also increased as of late, with the current number of deaths standing at 78.

“We have been advising people to not gather during Christmas time and these are the mixed messages that the government keeps giving to the people. We have our Health Minister telling us one thing and our Tourism Minister telling us another.”

He said that he was extremely shocked to see such an event launched, and Pace hopes that people are responsible to not go to such an event.

Self-illusion that COVID-19 is not here - MAM President

Martin Balzan, president of Medical Association of Malta (MAM) shared similar opinions.

“This is not on, and it is similar to what happened back in summer when we allowed parties to happen; except now it is worse because we have cases in their hundreds on a daily basis, whereas back then we had only a few”, he said while speaking to this newsroom.

Balzan said that the event is being presented as something of an illusion as if Covid-19 is no longer an issue.

He said that more responsible governments abroad are calling for curfews and are informing people to stay inside.

“From a medical point of view such an event is extremely irresponsible”, he concluded.
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